Johnny Friedlaender Biography

Johnny Friedlaender




Johnny Gotthard Friedlaender (1912-1992), printmaker and painter, was born in Pless, Prussian Silesia (Germany) on June 21, 1912, the son of a pharmacist. He moved to Breslau in 1921 and, in 1928, he enrolled at the Breslau Art Academy where he attended master classes taught by Otto Mueller, a member of Die Brücke. During his academy years Friedlaender worked in lithography and etching.

In 1930, he moved to Dresden, where his work was included in group exhibitions at Galerie J. Sandel and, in 1936, he traveled to Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Austria, France, and Belgium. Friedlaender and his young wife fled the Nazi regime in 1937 settling in Paris as political refugees. In 1938 and 1939, Friedlaender worked at the literary weekly magazine Marianne on Paul Chadourne's recommendation. From 1939 to 1943 he was interned in a series of concentration camps. After the war, the Friedlaenders returned to Paris in 1945, in 1947 he became a member of the Salon de Mai, and in 1950 he became a French citizen.

Friedlaender worked for various journals and focused on etching as his main medium of expression. He became one of the great innovators in color printmaking and a school formed in Paris around his work as a painter and printmaker. From his Paris atelier Friedlaender instructed younger artists who themselves went on to become noteworthy, among them Arthur Luiz Piza, Brigitte Coudrain, Rene Carcan, and Graciela Rodo Boulanger. His work was internationally acclaimed and included in exhibitions around the world and he won numerous awards. In 1987 the Bremen Art Museum mounted a retrospective of Friedlaender's work on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday and on his eightieth birthday a retrospective exhibition was mounted in Bonn at the municipal council offices.

On June 18, 1992, Johnny Friedlaender died in Paris, where he had spent most of his adult life, at the age of seventy-nine, three days short of his eightieth birthday.

A website devoted to his work can be found at: http://